Breed Group: Working
Working Height: 23.5 to 27.5 inches at the shoulder Weight: 88 to 120 pounds Life Span: 10 to 11 years
This Italian mastiff was bred to hunt wild boar and today acts as a guard dog. Fiercely devoted to his family, he doesn’t care for strangers or small animals. More athletic and agile than other mastiffs, he’ll sit at your feet with impressive weight.
Did You Know the Cane Corso is First and Foremost a Guard Dog?
The Cane Corso is also known as Dogo di Puglia, which means “dog of Puglia.”
The Cane Corso is a mastiff breed from Italy. He is a complex, powerful dog with special needs. For starters, he is a giant breed, weighing up to 120 pounds. He was created to hunt big game and guard property. The Cane Corso has a massive head, heavy rectangular body, and a short coat in black, gray, fawn, or red.
The Cane Corso is not an appropriate choice for an inexperienced dog owner. First-time dog owners and people who have had only “soft” breeds such as retrievers, spaniels, or toy breeds need not apply. This dog is large, powerful, intelligent, active, and headstrong.
A Cane Corso needs a leader who can guide him with firmness and consistency without using force or cruelty. The Cane Corso loves his family, but he’s not demonstrative about it. He will want to be near you, but he’s not demanding in terms of attention or physical touch.
Early, frequent socialization is essential. Purchase a Cane Corso puppy from a breeder who raises the pups in the home and ensures that they are exposed to many household sights and sounds. Continue socializing your Cane Corso throughout his life by taking him to puppy kindergarten class, introducing him to friends and neighbors, and planning outings to local shops and businesses. This is the only way he can learn to be discriminating between what is normal and what is truly a threat.
That said, no amount of socialization will make him friendly toward people other than his family. The Cane Corso is first and foremost a guard dog, and he takes his responsibilities seriously.
Begin training as soon as you bring your Cane Corso puppy home, while he is still at a manageable size. Institute a nothing-in-life-is-free program, requiring puppies to “work” for everything they get by performing a command before receiving meals, toys, treats, or play. It’s always a good idea to take a Cane Corso to puppy kindergarten followed by basic obedience class, especially if you are working with a trainer who understands the Cane Corso mindset.
The Cane Corso has a moderate activity level and needs a job to do, which can be anything from being your on-leash walking companion to daily training activities. Expect to walk or jog him at least a mile daily, in addition to 20 minutes or so of training practice. He will not be satisfied to lie around and do nothing all the time.
He must also be prevented from chasing and killing cats or small dogs belonging to the neighbors. The Cane Corso has a high prey drive and a territorial nature, so he needs a strong, solid fence at least six feet high to keep him on his own property. An underground electronic fence is never appropriate for this breed.
Like any dog, Cane Corso puppies are inveterate chewers and because of their size can do a whole lot of damage. Don’t give them the run of the house until they’ve reached trustworthy maturity. And keep your Cane Corso puppy busy with training, play and socialization experiences. A bored Cane Corso is a destructive Cane Corso.
The Cane Corso should spend plenty of time with his family. Chaining a Cane Corso out in the yard and giving him little or no attention is not only cruel, it can also lead to aggression and destructive behavior.
The Cane Corso has a smooth coat that sheds. Brush him at least once a week to remove dead hair and keep the skin and coat healthy. Clean the ears and trim the nails as needed, and bathe the Cane Corso on the rare occasions that he’s dirty.
Other Quick Facts About the Cane Corso:
Despite a multicentury legacy, the Cane Corso nearly went extinct during World War II.
The Cane Corso is a fiercely intelligent animal and requires an equally savvy owner.